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Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr has demanded that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton order the release Tariq al-Sawah, the last Egyptian citizen still detained in Guantanamo Bay.
On Tuesday the Egyptian Embassy in Washington submitted Amr’s letter to the US State Department. In the letter, Amr stressed the urgency of releasing Sawah, who has been held in Guantanamo since 2001 without ever standing trial, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Amr Roshdy on Thursday.
They Egyptian government contracted an American lawyer, Major Sean Gleason, who specializes in the defense of Guantanomo prisoners to defend Saweh, said Roshdy. The first hearing in Saweh’s petition to be released will be held after Ramadan.
The initial charges brought against Sawah claimed that he “traveled to Afghanistan and joined Al-Qaeda to fight against the United States.”
Two documents dating from 2008 stated that Sawah was a member of Al-Qaeda for “approximately two years” in Afghanistan.
Sawah’s family and defense team say these claims are unsubstantiated, and earlier this year the US military courts dropped the charges, but did not release Sawah from the prison.
US President Barak Obama signed a decree in 2009 to shut down the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, which has been accused of violating human rights codes, but the decree has not yet been officially enforced.
After a session with the European Parliament last September, US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the US government will definitively close the prison before the presidential elections to be held in November.